All you wanted to know about olive oil acidity

All you wanted to know about olive oil acidity

Did you know that the level of olive oil acidity is an extremely important parameter in determining its quality?  It’s true and it’s something we should bear in mind before buying it.  In this post, we’re going to reveal all the secrets about  olive oil acidity.  Reading this is a must!

Acidity, the parameter to be found on labels, measures the quantity of free fatty oleic acid, the main one present in olive oil. Acidity is the percentage (expressed in %) in weight of free oleic acid in relation to the total quantity of oil. 

We know that among consumers, there is a mistaken conception about what olive oil acidity is.  For that reason, we want to start this post by explaining  what it consists of and how it affects the quality of our products.

Olive oil acidity: an indicator of quality

What is the real meaning of oil acidity?  Nowadays, there are many people who don’t know its real meaning. So, for that reason, we’re going to make its function known.

Olive oil  acidity has nothing to do with its taste.  It’s impossible  for us to know if an olive oil has a more or less acidic taste only from knowing it’s level of acidity.  Olive oil acidity refers to the amount of fatty acids it contains.

It’s one indicator, among many others, which helps us to classify the different types of olive oils.  Once we know the oil’s level of aciditity, and taking into account many other factors, we can determine if the the oil can be:

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Unsuitable for sale to the consumer

By the way, did you know that the level of olive oil acidity can only be measured by carrying out laboratory tests?

What is olive oil acidity?

Is the concept of  olive  oil acidity still  not clear?  Well, don’t worry because we’re going to try to explain it as well as possible.  Let’s start from the beginning: the level of acidity of an olive in its original state is 0.

 Olive oil is produced in a completely natural way inside the olive thanks to the production of triglycerides.  Each one of these  triglycerides is composed of one molecule of glycerol and three fatty acids.  This chemical compound is to be found in each and every vegetable oil.

We call triglycerides oils when they are in their liquid state.  When, during the production of the oil, any type of change occurs, the union between fatty acids and the glycerol breaks down.  This causes the fatty acids to be released and as a consequence, the quality of the oil goes down.

If you’re interested, you can find much more information on these chemical products  in this article.

How do we classify olive oils according to their acidity?

Now  that we know  what olive oil acidity is, we’re going to classify the different types of olive oil according to their acidity.

Extra virgin olive oils: acidity less than or equal to  0,8 %.

Virgin olive oils: acidity less than or equal to  2 %.

When an olive oil has more than 2 % of acidity, it’s not for for consumption because the taste and smell are very disagreeable.  For that reason, they are called lampante  oils.

In our opinion,  we DON’T consider  extra virgin extra virgin olive oils with an an index of acidity higher than 0.3%.  This is because for us, an extra virgin olive oil should be of the highest quality.

What level of acidity do our olive oils have?

Our olive juices are submitted to rigorous treatments to ensure that the consumer enjoys  a unique gastronomic experience when  tasting our olive oils.  At Masía El Altet, we take care of even the finest details.  The levels of acidity in our olive oils are the following:

  • High Quality: 0.08%
  • Premium: 0.09%
  • Special Selection: 0.08%
  • High End: 0.08%

Should  olive oil acidity  be shown on the label?

This is a question we’ve been asked many times.  What is certain is that from 2012, it’s no longer obligatory  for the level of acidity to appear on the label.

If the level of acidity does appear on the label, so should the wax content,  ultraviolet absorbency and the level of peroxides.

This a ruling established by the European Union because when the level of acidity appeared on labels, it confused the consumer.  Another ruling established in 2012 consists in that when an oil is refined, that is to say, that it contains a mixture of oils, the label must indicate the level of acidityof each oil it’s made of.

What types of olive oil can be sold?

Another ruling from the European Union, 1234/2007, states that the only olive oils which can be put on the market are those to be found here:

Olive oil (OO)

When we talk about Olive oil (OO), we’re referring to refined oil.  That which is made from blending different oils.

It’s a mixture of olive oils.  It’s refined oil.  It doesn’t reach the parameters of the other  three mentioned.  It isn’t a natural olive juice.  It has undergone different processes, for which reason we can’t call it ‘virgin’. The level of acidity in these oils can’t be higher than 11 %.

Ecological extra virgin olive oil (EEVOO)

Chemical products are not used in treating the trees.

Virgin olive oil (VOO)

The level of acidity in this olive oil must not be not more than 2 %.

Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

This type of olive oil is what  consumers consider to be the best. Considered to be of the highest quality since the processes used in the collection of the olives are mechanized.

It is what is considered to be of the best quality.  The olives are picked when they are really perfect and in the collection, mechanical processes are used.  Its  acidity level isn’t higher than 0.8 %.

So when all’s said and done, the level of olive oil acidity doesn’t indicate if it has a more or less acidic taste. From Masía El Altet, we want you to know that we really do bear in mind the acidity of each and every on our our oils.  We want our customers to enjoy unbeatable quality and for this reason, we pay attention to every little detail before putting  it on the market.

And what about you? Have you ever heard of the level of olive oil acidity? Were you aware of its importance in determining the quality of the oil?  Tell us what you know about it in the comments section.

Ah!  And don’t forget to share this post with family and friends.  We’re sure they’ll love it!

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bruno souza
bruno souza
5 years ago

Hi this the greatfull and the best way to deal with clients and be very honest and sincerely about your pure gold extra virgem olive oils very top!
i’m looking for ages and ages ago to trying anywhere to find a company like this. Many people woukd like to know about acidity % in the product. I don’t know why many companies get this clonclusion just because someones doesn’t know a mean everyone does. It is great to find you guys. how can i know better about your company to buy your products. I’m interested. I’m very healthy guy and looking for good fat like monounsaturated and minimum acidity 0.2% max 0.8% my email

5 years ago


Fred de Vries
Fred de Vries
4 years ago

Somehow you made the mistake of changing percentage into degrees. You see, the EU decided to express free acidity as a percentage: 0.8 grammes per 100 gramme. A degree isn’t comparable to a percentage, which means that free acidity should be termed as 0.8% and not 0.8 degrees.

4 years ago

I have an EVOO that says on the bottle 1% acidity.
Is that still good.